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iPhoneography

I recently discovered the art of iPhone photos or as it is know “iPhoneography”. There are a number of books, magazines and web resources. I begin this journey with a few simple apps. I have the hipstamatic app it creates retro style images. Fisheye simulates a fisheye lens but I will probably use my olloclip rather than simulate the lens. PicsArt allows me to layer my images and add effects. Then I have 2 adobe apps, lightroom and PS Express.

Now the apps are important but I also have photos for my library and iCloud share. I use instagram to share my images. I am just getting started in this adventure and below are my first 2 attempts at iPhone Art… or iPhoneography. If you like them please follow me on instagram @PD_Images

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Social Media & My iPhone Camera

This last year I found myself on the road a lot.  I use some social media like face book to keep up with friends and interests.  Don’t share a lot of images or post my location because it leads to more targeted ads.  I also find it had to take my camera on the road with me.  I already have to take 2 laptops so to pack in a DSLR in my carry on gets to be a bit much.

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Still I want to take images on the road.  I decided to make some social media changes.  I changed my Facebook account to only my hobby interest.  I removed most of my personal information.  Deleted post that were not related to my hobbies.  Moved most of my professional contacts to Linkedin.   I decided to use Instagram for my photos.  Since the images I get are mostly from my iPhone I thought this was a good compromise

 

Now I take my photo and edit it in tIMG_1019.jpghe instagram app.  It actually does an OK job.  I use it mainly for snapshots to document where I’ve been or for goofy images.  I do try to post on a regular basis and I also use the instal reel app on my MAC.  I don’t use it for anything other than travel snaps while I am on the road for work.  If I’m working on a photo project of course I use my DSLR and Photoshop.

IMG_1304.jpgThe biggest disadvantage of my iPhone is the limitations of the lens.  The overall camera is actually decent for a phone.  To give myself a few more options I got the olloclip.  It’s a snap-on lens device that gives me 4 options.  Wide angle, fish-eye and 2 Macro lenses in one small package.  I can easily place this in my backpack and when I have time outside of work to site see I grab it and go.

IMG_1070.jpgThis little system will never take the place of my DSLR but it will give me some options when it comes to sharing my travel with my friends and family and instagram followers.  There are times I really wish I had my DSLR but when it is just not possible I have my olloclip and iPhone.  The images here are some of my instagram photos.  I haven’t had the account long but I hope to keep adding images from my travels.  Thanks for the read, follow me on instagram @PD_Images

Recycle Images to create Graphic Novel looking pictures

I had a hard drive crash on me.  I was able to recover a lot of the data I thought I lost.  I found some images I hadn’t looked at in quite some time and thought….  What can I do with these.  So I began to play around with photoshop and this is what happened.

PDI_0306.jpgI took a normal looking image like this one and turned it into something out of a graphic novel. I know may people will say yes you posterized it or used poster edges but that is not the case.  Those filters don’t get the same effect.  In fact I used about 8 layers to get the final product.  I also find that you can’t use the same process on every photo.  Each time you begin the process changes slightly to make the image look correct.

Below is the final result of this image.

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As you can see the entire photo is changed and it looks very much like a graphic novel image.  I combined different artistic, stylize and blur filters to get the effect above.  Here is a sample of the number of layers I used.  The final result has about 3 additional layers.

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Here is another before and after…

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And 2 more full size examples….

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I really enjoyed creating these and writing this article.  Makes me think I could do a online graphic novel using real people since I can’t draw…  Again thanks for reading this.

I’m planning to write another post soon about the lens baby system and embracing the blur….

Nikon AW100 – Sports Camera

A while back I wrote about the GoPro camera. I have used my GoPro for many things and intended to use it for some underwater shots while on vacation. After reading reviews I found it was limited on quality underwater. Further research lead me to the Nikon Coolpix AW100. Water proof up to 33ft and shock proof up to 5 feet. This camera was made for mild sports action yet still remains stylish.

The camera looks like a simple point and shoot. Many of the features you would find on most with a couple differences. First the button for the shutter and video are separate. Each has a unique texture so you can feel what is what. Next the batter and memory card door had a rubber seal but also uses a double lock to be more secure from accidental opening. Next the camera has a built in GPS allowing you to GEO tag your images or use it as a functional ground GPS. Finally you will find a underwater setting in the presets for diving.

Dolphin Flight - Discovery Cove, Orlando FL

Going through the presets and doing some tests I found the “simple” mode to be annoying. I switch it over to “auto” for playing. During vacation I used several presets like “underwater”, “Beach” and “Night Portrait”. These are easy to change using the scene mode button on the back of the camera. All in all I found the scenes to be quite adequate for most of my images. Remember this is a point and shoot. The zoom range work well for most situations. The one drawback was the speed between shots. The manual boasts 2.5 frames per second but even with my extreme 30MB/s SD card I could not get shots that quickly.

The image quality during daylight was above average to outstanding in the point and shoot category. I think the color and contrast in the daylight images were spot on. I also could not see any real issues with noise in these images. I was a little disappointed in the night images. They seemed to have a lot of noise and took time to fix in photoshop. I would say a 5X7 would be the largest you could get a usable print from using night settings. Overall for a point and shoot the camera performance was above average. ** note I tested the zoom lens but did not use the digital zoom feature.

Video was also handled very well with this little camera. It takes 1080p HD video with great color and contrast. I also took several night videos and amazingly the quality of night video was much better than the photos. I was able to snorkel taking video and stills again with great results. The camera was easy to manage underwater. I did notice one difference here that should be noted. Using the underwater mode the still images look nice, corrected color but to me look a bit dull. The video looks great, especially compared to the GoPro but the color looks off a bit. I have included a video shot entirely using the AW100. (stills and video use the Coolpix AW100, Edited in Final Cut X Pro)

My overall opinion of the Nikon AW100: If you need a camera that can take some light abuse and for all weather situations I would recommend you check this camera out. The image and video quality are excellent in most situations. The controls are simple to use and it has safety locks keeping the camera weather tight. The drawbacks are minimal unless you plan to do lots of low-light images. For under $300 (USD) this camera is well worth a look.

Thanks for reading!

Halloween Fun

Model - Alison Nunn
Halloween Haunting

Shooting a lot of basic things in studio and lots of models on white it is always fun to get out of the studio. I was given a change to shoot in a Halloween “Haunted House” and think I got some interesting images. After scouting the area we picked 3 rooms to shoot in. The first was a mock up of a house, with a yard, axes, and just lots of junk. Second was a graveyard and cage. Finally we shoot in a butcher’s house with tables, and kitchen area.

Most was shot with just simple costumes but we did add some stage blood for the butcher’s house. I didn’t know if we would have power so this shoot was done completely with speed lights using the Nikon ® CLS. I brought some modifiers like Gels, Umbrella, and Snoot plus light stands. I used the built in commander on my D300. This was nice because I could make adjustments on the fly if I didn’t like the lighting.

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I chose to use the manual zoom sticking to my 50mm 1.8 and my 35mm 1.8 lenses. For those of you who don’t get the “manual” part… I just walked closer to model for the zoom. I also played a bit with the lens baby® to get some wild creepy effects. All the lenses I chose were fast primes because of the poor lighting. I did find this limiting in some areas but it was just something I had to work around. All in all this was a great shoot, now what to shoot next….

Glamour Photography Workshop Review

I had the pleasure of attending another workshop by Danny Griffin on glamor photography. We started with the basics. First setting the camera for our location. The location was a nice studio in downtown Kansas City on the top floor of an older building. Lots of large windows, bright color walls and old hardwood floors. It was a really nice location. Next we setup the lights to create highlights on the model. The back lights were more of a harsh lighting. These were set about 1 stop above the main light. The main light was a large soft box set slightly off center. We also used a kicker to ensure our model had even lighting.

We then had the pleasure of working with model Jessica Vaugn. We shot several different outfits. In addition we changed up the lighting to several different styles ranging from a single center to color gels for our back lights. Our photoshoot with Jessica was about an hour and a half.

Following the photoshoot we had a photo editing session. I always learn a lot from these. Even if it is a simple tip it really helps.

The other great part about the editing session is the fact you get feedback on how your images look. You get to see how others shoot the same model in the same setting. This is a great tool to learn what to change or not change.

Now as I always say I don’t give ratings. I think like any training you get out of it what you put into it. Each person learns differently. So, here is what you will get out of the workshop. First a chance to work with an experienced model. Second lots of lighting tips, ideas and the ability to put them to use with practice. Finally, a chance to learn new editing techniques. If this sounds good then the workshop is well worth your time. I know I enjoyed it and learned a lot. I would recommend this workshop.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Models

Over the years I have had the chance to work with many different models. Some turn out to fall into the diva category. Some turn out to be flakes but to spite all that most, I’d say 90% do a great job. That 90% are also the ones that realize it is a job.

When it comes to trade it seems to be simple but then as a photographer I have the impression that the model is either new or is trying something new. That is not a big deal because they have not been convinced that every shot has to look like a glamour shot. Far from that in commercial photography I want more natural looks, honest expressions and most of all I want the image to look real.

My issue lately has been finding paid models. Most likely because of the market I live in. Small market, limited choice and most are asking more than a large market rate. Because of the market size I have little choice here. My current dilemma is the need to complete a project but finding the model that fits the look. I found 10 in the area and sent requests to shoot on a specific day. From the 10 requests I sent out I got 3 responses. 2 of the 3 were to say they were currently booked. These 2 models are now on the list of models I would contact again just for the fact they took the time to respond to my request.

The 3rd model said she could do the project. Great news, looks like I may have this in the bag! We went over the rate, the looks needed, she had a location that fit the style. So far everything is good. Sent a copy of the release to complete with a photo ID required this was all good. At this point I am thinking I have this in the bag. Last thing to do is nail down the schedule. I sent her the time start time and let her know we could actually start any time after that, just let me know what works. I get back a response for a different day all together. I sent back an email to explain that the shoot was for the day listed on the casting call. Model response “I have plans that day so we need to change the date.”

I had to expand my search, look in other markets and now looks like I will have to travel about 3 hours if I want to do the project. But the good new here is the area I am traveling to has a workshop going on, so those who attend workshops… New review coming soon! I think this blog was more of me bitching that being constructive…. LOL

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad